Hawks vs. Clippers
When: 7 tonight
Where: Philips Arena
On TV: Fox Sports South
OKLAHOMA CITY — Kevin Durant had 33 points and 11 rebounds, Jeff Green added 19 points and two key baskets down the stretch, and the Oklahoma City Thunder recovered after letting a 13-point lead slip away to beat the Atlanta Hawks 106-99 on Tuesday night.
Durant became the first player since Allen Iverson nine seasons ago to score at least 25 points in 22 consecutive games and came up big down the stretch.
Fans started chanting “M-V-P!” as Durant made two free throws with 9.6 seconds left to complete a perfect 14-for-14 night at the foul line. Durant, who came in averaging 29.6 points, closed in on NBA scoring leader Carmelo Anthony (29.7) but would have needed three more points to pass him.
With Atlanta within two, Durant hit jumpers on back-to-back possessions to make it 97-93, then provided assists on a 3-pointer by Green and a layup by Russell Westbrook that helped put away the game.
Joe Johnson scored 37 points and helped Atlanta rally back to tie it after trailing by 13 late in the third quarter. Josh Smith added 15 points and Al Horford scored 14 for the Hawks, who fell out of first place in the Southeast Division with a loss to Orlando on Saturday and have now lost three of four.
Westbrook narrowly missed a triple-double with 12 points, nine assists and nine rebounds as Oklahoma City committed a season-low seven turnovers — outdoing even the NBA’s best team at protecting the ball by three.
Oklahoma City outscored Atlanta 20-7 early in the third quarter to build a 75-62 lead when Green followed Westbrook’s steal and dunk with a driving layup. Westbrook added another right-handed jam moments later before Johnson answered with back-to-back 3-pointers to bring the Hawks back within seven.
Johnson was at it again in the fourth quarter, teaming with Mike Bibby to help Atlanta close the rest of the deficit with a 15-4 surge. Johnson had a runner in the lane and then patiently dribbled his way in for a layup before drilling a 3-pointer from the left wing. Bibby followed that with his second 3-pointer in the stretch to tie the game at 89 with 5:50 to play.
After an Oklahoma City timeout, Green hit a foul line jumper to break the tie and the Thunder led the rest of the way.
In a first half that featured 13 ties, Durant scored the Thunder’s final 10 points — all from the free throw line. He made six in a row to give Oklahoma City its largest lead at 47-41 before Atlanta scored the next eight points. Two more free throws from Durant tied it at 49 at halftime.
NOTES: Smith (24 years, 59 days) became the youngest player to block 1,000 shots in the NBA, breaking a mark held by Benoit Benjamin (25 years, 128 days) when he was with the Los Angeles Clippers. Smith’s milestone block came with 8:29 left in the first quarter on a shot by Nenad Krstic. ... Thunder C Etan Thomas, who hasn’t played since Dec. 4, was not with the team for personal reasons. ... Xzibit, host of MTV’s “Pimp My Ride,” sat courtside near the Thunder bench.